Book Review and a Giveaway

CreativeMarkNote: Congratulations to Jen from Pierced Wonderings–she’s the winner of Eric Maisel’s book, Making Your Creative Mark.

Making Your Creative Mark is Eric Maisel’s 40th book, and his 20th on working with the difficulties creative people have with their work. “Most likely you know how often you stall, block, and give up. Most likely you understand that the art marketplace is a difficult place. Most likely . . . you fret about. . .how often your discipline eludes you,” says Maisel. The nine keys in his book are his answer and solution to the common stumbling blocks artists come across.

Title: Making Your Creative Mark: Nine Keys to Achieving Your Artistic Goals

Author: Eric Maisel, Ph.D. (Therapist, creativity coach, blogger for Psychology Today magazine).

Details: Paperback, 226 pages, New World Library.

Book Chapters:

  • The Mind Key –“mind your mind” –thinking thoughts that serve your creativity
  • The Confidence Key–how confidence relates to the creative process
  • The Passion Key–how to develop the interest required to face the rigors of being creative
  • The Freedom Key–how to nurture and support a life in the arts
  • The Stress Key–how to deal with creative stress
  • The Empathy Key–how to remain aware of others on the creative path
  • The Relationship Key–how to navigate relationships in the arts
  • The Identity Key–who are you, really?
  • The Societal Key–how do you show up in your world?

What I Like: Maisel is a master at keeping you in action. If you are the list-loving, check-it-off-as-I-do-it creative, you will love Maisel’s book. (In Meyers Briggs, you are a highly expressed “J”). He gives you tips, steps, and a no-excuse approach. For many people, this is a great way to get where you are going. You focus on the goal, and then march toward it with Maisel’s ideas at hand.

He’s a clear writer. No jargon, no rambling. Maisel writes smooth, declarative sentences and this books is direct and easy to understand.

fish climbing up fish ladder. Hard work, but the only way he will get to spawning grounds.

Fish climbing up fish ladder. Hard work, but the only way he will get to spawning grounds.

Maisel is also practical and down to earth. No woo-woo, no waiting for the Universe, you build it yourself.

Along the way, Maisel gives a lot of examples that read like feature stories and make his ideas move from theory to real life situations. It helps you create a vision of the actions you could be taking.

What I don’t like: Some of the examples leave you hanging in mid-action. After three pages of reading  about Maisel coaching a reluctant and recalcitrant Marsha who is avoiding dealing with a gallery owner who likes her work, Marsha refuses to take any action and says, “I’m really difficult, aren’t I?” To this, Maisel adds, “Had we made any progress? Marsha was certainly not a changed person. . . I  would have bet that a seed was planted. . . . I had high hopes for our next meeting.”  And then we never hear about Marsha again. While it is absolutely true that many clients take a long time to take action, I’d like to hear about the coaching Maisel does that works now. Because the book expects you to behave quickly, too.

There are moments when the steps, tips, and how-to’s don’t quite answer the question (at least not for me). It’s a bit as if he were a diet coach (he’s not) and said, “Eat less, exercise more” and then tells you to eat less breakfast, eat less lunch and eat less dinner. Oh, and exercise more. I will freely admit that what I want is a little more emotion, a little more soul.

I’m not sure if my next “don’t like” is jealousy or the humility I learned as a child: By page 14, he’s mentioned three of his other books as recommended reading. I know you have to market yourself, but it made me feel slightly uncomfortable. If I like an author, I’ll immediately look up his other books on my own.

Giveaway: Leave a comment telling me you’d like to read the book, and I’ll hold a drawing on Saturday, May 25,  to give the book away.

Disclosure: Eric Maisel was my teacher when I was becoming a life coach and becoming certified as a creativity coach. I’ve read many of his books, but have over time drifted from his circle of influence as I developed my own path.

Leave a comment and form your own opinions by reading his book!

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who believes all sorts of wild things that other people don’t agree with, either.

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24 thoughts on “Book Review and a Giveaway

  1. Pingback: Making Meaning in Art: Alexis Smith, Eric Maisel | TalentDevelop

  2. Actually, I’m not really in need of life coaching, but I know someone who might like reading this, so put my name in the drawing, please. But to those who self-promote in their own books, I remember reading something that an author noted about his own work: he was on a ship coming to the US and saw a passenger reading his book. He was very flattered and excited until he watched her slam the book shut and toss it overboard!

  3. I’ve read about Eric Maisel on line, but never read any of his books. It would be nice to see if this book can help me with my creativity. Thanks, Quinn!

  4. I enjoyed reading, The Creativity Book. Thanks for sharing your review of Making Your Creative Mark and for the chance to win it. I appreciate your generosity.

  5. I enjoyed your review Quinn; your insights and comments are about the content and your involvement, – or uninvolvement – with it. This gives a good sense of what one can actually expect to find in the book. Unfortunately, some reviewers seem only to want to show off how much they know! I haven’t read any of Maisel’s books, but am now curious enough to go to the library (unless I am lucky enough to win your giveaway!).

  6. I would love to win this! I’ve never read any of his books and from what you shared above, it’s a book that would be incredibly beneficial to where I’m at right now. Cheers!

  7. I treasure all the Maisel books I happen to own and return to dip into them often. Everytime I do a book purge, his works remain on my shelves. I’m likely to find “Affirmations for Artists” anywhere in the house, I consult it that often.
    As my circumstances and perceptions evolve, I also frequently need to hear the “same thing” written or said slightly differently. Twenty years ago Maisel’s books were nearly magical to me and revealed whole new worlds. Currently he feels like a wise colleague and trusted resource in my pantheon.
    Who knows, perhaps this latest book will create new dialogues and relationships I’m now capable of assimilating and acting upon? Just your review, Quinn, gives me inklings this is so. Count me in for Saturday’s drawing. And thanks.

      • When I first saw the movie Harold and Maude in 1972, I was in love with Harold. When I watch it now, it’s all about Maude. I just re-read Two Years Before the Mast, and it seemed an utterly new story because the intervening decades have given me more – history, geography, parenthood – to attach to his words. (And I enjoy that you studied with Maisel; it makes your two voices echo pleasurably back and forth in my mind now.)

  8. I’ve read Eric’s other books and find them knowledgeable……without your blog I wouldn’t have discovered he’s written another….so yes I would like to read this one too….now I just need you to make me the winner! Thanks for your daily blog postings, they make me think every morning.

  9. I don’t get it — is this new book because he’s learned new and different things, and that’s why they weren’t in his previous 19 books about the same subject? Or has he finally, after 20 books, learned how to say what he meant all along? Or is each of these books saying the same thing but to a different audience? In any of these cases why would he recommend his earlier books in his new book?

    Please don’t include me in the drawing; the book would go directly into the recycling bin. Why would anyone read a book about creativity by somebody who keeps spouting the same thing? Now, if he writes a book about effective repeat sales techniques…

    • Creativity is a big subject and each artist approaches it differently. I’m sure you’ve read more than one book about effective sales techniques. We don’t have just one book on any topic, and Eric has a lot of experience in the field. He’s written books on depression, sleep thinking, performance anxiety, travel books with a writing slant, and atheism. He’s got a big field of knowledge.

  10. I’m putting this one on my to-read list, but I have to agree about authors recommending their own books for reading suggestions. It has the opposite effect on me than intended.

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